When the chips are down

by Andy Bryenton

Green waste — it’s an inevitable by-product of gardening, and it can be a hassle to dispose of. Even those of us who have a friendly neighbourhood garden bag company to dispose of our clipping and prunings, often wish for a way to stack more in the bag, and for those who dispose of it themselves, it can be a costly and annoying chore to shift.

This time of year, with plenty of sun and rain causing riotous growth and the outdoor entertaining season well upon us, the clippings can pile up. Many small garden and block owners will question the need to buy a large petrol powered wood chipper to tackle the leavings from shrubs and bushes.

That’s where Stihl’s new range of electric garden shredders come in — a perfect middle ground between the sheer grunt of a big chipper and dealing with prunings manually.

The range contains everything from small units able to be shifted with one hand and suitable for disposing of soft clippings from garden beds right through to the big GHE 250s, which effortlessly shreds small branches and whippy bunches of twigs down to size. Outside, they are formed from the same toughened plastics, which Stihl use to craft the casings for chainsaws and brush cutters — easy to keep clean and able to absorb the knocks they’re likely to take around the garden.

Inside, a powerful electric motor drives a patented ‘sandwich’ of tough blades, much like an upgraded and strengthened version of the business end of a paper shredder. This series of blades make short work of garden waste, expelling a mulch, which is easy to move and manage.

In fact, those who don’t want to pick up the collecting hopper and dump it directly to a waiting garden bag will find that the resultant ground-up mulch a perfect addition to the compost heap — or a fine substrate to pack right back onto non-ornamental gardens. Depending on what’s gone into the wide-mouthed chute of the GHE 250s, the output might not even be considered waste at all! It’s a quick and easy way to keep the garden tidy, save on trips to the tip and turn spring and summer’s rubbish into something useful.